Strawberries (2), Baking Extravaganza, and an Operation (of Sorts)

23 May

Please tell me it is not just the nesting instinct that has me cooking and baking up a storm. I so want it to stick! Of course I have always loved to do both, but I’ve never been this overzealous – and the pictures only reveal a smidgen of the goods.

Our garden has seen the same treatment. Vegetables started from seed inside under lamps for the first time. Several new garden beds. Accomplishing so much and it’s still only May! Makes time slow down to the speed of plant growth. Really forces you to take the days one at a time. Even the chilly ones like today, with windy gusts up to 40 mph.

Summer has lots of garden goodness in store as well. I’m so ready to put  my tomatoes in the ground, but I hear it’s better to wait with the night temps still in the 40’s. I can wait…cuz I have to.

I realize that the bounty I have set ourselves up for will be all crazy productive (I hope!) and ready for preserving right at the time that we’ll be welcoming our sweet little boy to our home. I’m sure I’ll be relying on Tucker and my mom heavily at this time…and I’ll be ever so grateful!!! Can’t let it go to waste!!!

Monday night we had game night. Operation, homemade pizza, and strawberry cobbler. Mmmmm. We heard our fair share of buzzing coming from the game. It was a good night.

Strawberry Summer Cake – This was oh-so-tasty. The house smelled absolutely divine, like strawberries warming in the sun. It’s a simple – and delightful – way to use up your strawberry harvest. Serve with homemade whipped cream (it only takes like 5 minutes and is infinitely better!). Recipe from Smitten Kitchen. (She has a cookbook coming out!!)

Bread – I recently got a cookbook out from the library called River Cottage EverydayI had never heard of River Cottage or Hugh Fearneley-Whittingstall, but the pages appealed to me, so I checked it out. I very much enjoyed, the food, his manner, and the philosophies behind his take on food and meals. It is definitely a cookbook I will be adding to my shelf.

My most recent trip to the library procured another book of his (along with a collaboration with Fizz Carr – what a spunky name, eh? Check out the fun names she gave her girls!). This one is The River Cottage Family CookbookI love how it is divided, the feel of it, the recipes, the family-oriented theme. It’s a fun cookbook and will also one day be mine.

This simple and easily varied white bread recipe was a pleasure to make. The kneading, the rising, the smell of warm yeast – all good for the soul, I swear. Oh, and the eating! Yum! The first warm slices slathered thick with butter. Later additions of jam. Cinnamon sugar toast. Lightly toasted cheese sandwiches (buttered slices with cold extra sharp white cheddar). Oh homemade bread…I love you, truly I do.

The loaf disappeared in just a couple of days. The second is going the same. I am sure this will now be a weekly ritual.

(I found out recently that the River Cottage television show is on You Tube. Can’t wait to give it a watch!)

Pizza – The pizza is a very easy crust and sauce that we have been using for sometime now. Both recipes come from America’s Test Kitchen. It’s their Basic Pizza Dough and Quick Pizza Sauce. The recipe makes enough for two 14-inch pizzas. We just eat one and freeze the second ball of dough. I’m going to get ahead of the game, and freeze several – pizza every week! The dough lasts for a month in the freezer.

With a little amount of preparation, you can forgo the store bought frozen pizza and make your very own far superior creation!

Strawberry Fruit Cobbler – This scrumptious desert also came from America’s Test Kitchen. Another simple, tasty strawberry baked good. I had never made a cobbler before (there’s always so many firsts!). The biscuit topping, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, was my favorite part, especially with the bottoms soaked in strawberry juices. Oh, and of course each bite was accompanied by an equal sized portion of vanilla ice cream.

The cobbler went fast, largely devoured by me. (Collin doesn’t like strawberries! And Tucker is so so with fruit, but making large strides in the right direction – the right direction being FRUIT IS AMAZING, of course.) Many a breakfast, snack and dessert ended up being cobbler.

Questions: Did you have a spike in baking/cooking while pregnant? Do you have family or friends who don’t particularly like fruit? (?!) What’s your favorite way to eat up strawberries?


4 Responses to “Strawberries (2), Baking Extravaganza, and an Operation (of Sorts)”

  1. Erin May 24, 2012 at 7:03 am #

    I’m thinking I’m going to have to try your recipes. I like to cook and bake but I’ve been in a bit of a rut, time to dig myself out this summer. I’m especially curious about your cobbler. We like to do a peach in the dutch oven but it’s a little rich for me because my husband uses a yellow cake mix. I have a coffee cake that you might enjoy, but I’ll have to find the recipe. I can’t remember what sight I got it from.

    • Paige June 6, 2012 at 9:12 pm #

      Summer is a good time to cook and bake with all the delicious fruits and veggies in season! Hope you enjoy the cobbler!

  2. Oh My Veggies (@ohmyveggies) June 6, 2012 at 5:21 pm #

    Oh my gosh, that cake looks amazing! It’s totally made for a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream on top. :)

    • Paige June 6, 2012 at 9:04 pm #

      Exactly that! So many things are better with a little dairy decadence.

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